The Path to Independence
Story shared by Yulia Los
One of our fervent wishes is to see our young people become more independent. We all need a close and loving community around us, but it’s healthy for young people to take steps toward managing their own lives, and taking care of their own bodies and minds – as precious people created in God’s image! Our programs are structured so that as youth grow older and become more self-reliant, their more “grown-up” needs continue to be met.
We’re celebrating Marina Basanova right now because she recently had a birthday – she’s 20 years old. But we’re also celebrating her hard work and grown-up decisions.
Marina’s mother died of cirrhosis of the liver, and her father brought Marina and her brothers to the orphanage. Marina’s brothers are also part of the Last Bell community: LB staff spend time mentoring Maxim, and the team visits her brother Dima, along with other orphans, at Gryshkovtsy orphanage.
After graduation from trade school in 2013, Marina moved into the Shelter residential program. But she was at a loss about what to do next. For three months she couldn’t make a decision about whether to pursue school or work. Because of the losses in her childhood, and because Ukrainian society is set against orphans like herself, she was even more fearful and insecure than teenagers in healthy families would be.
But the Shelter staff kept lovingly pushing her, and they helped her look for employment. Now she’s been working faithfully in the same store for two years! She’s a valued shop assistant. Through her job she’s really grown in her confidence and independence.
Marina spends her hard-earned income wisely. She saved her graduation money and bought braces to fix her bad teeth. After her graduation from the Shelter, she and another Shelter grad, Snizhana, became roommates and are renting part of a house.
Marina showing off the braces she purchased with her own funds
Now that Marina’s most fundamental needs are met, the Last Bell legal team is helping Marina and her brothers with a house registration issue, so they will be able to inherit the property due to them when the time comes.
In the last three years, Marina has blossomed from a young girl, unsure of herself or her future, into a mature young woman who works steadily at her job, pays her own rent, and looks to the future with confidence.
We’re proud of you, Marina!